Beat The Wheat!

Dr. Danesh D. Chinoy is a leading Health and Wellness Coach, Sports Physiotherapist and Psychologist. He is dedicated to helping all to heal holistically and remain fighting fit for life. Providing eye-opening and ground-breaking insights into Wellness, Dr. Chinoy’s two-decades’ rich expertise has won him innumerable awards, nationally and globally. His mission is to empower you to reach your highest levels of wellness/fitness. You can connect with Dr. Chinoy at:

The humble chapatti is supposed to be wholesome and nourishing as it’s made from whole-wheat, compared to paav, which is made from refined wheat or maida. Often, I ask my diabetic patients in particular, and the wellness seeking clients in general, to replace wheat in their diet with millets. Today, let me explain the science behind my advice.

The government credits itself with the white and the green revolution to have brought about massive development… but at what price? The price paid has been borne by our dear Mother Earth by its adverse impact on the environment and also the health of its children. I am confident that it would be a herculean task to find even an ounce of exactly the same wheat quality that was available prior to these so-called ‘smart’ human interventions (technology) in nature.

Modern day wheat has been linked to many serious diseases and complicated health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, leg edema, non-alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune problems and various cancers including colon, breast, Prostate and pancreatic. Are you surprised? There’s still more, this wheat is highly addictive! Only a small group of foods, in addition to alcoholic beverages, can create a temporary state of euphoria and wheat is one of them. It can change behaviour and cause withdrawal symptoms in people who try to live without it. Now you know why many of you cannot do without your favourite fixes ‘bun maska’, ‘irani biscuits’, cereals or your ‘bapaiji’s bhakras and chapat’.

Consider eliminating all forms of wheat from your diet and check if that makes you feel less sick and more healthy. Bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, biscuits, desserts; ready to eat, processed as well as homemade wheat foods that are supposedly healthy should be completely removed from your kitchen and your life. Sadly, in nutrition science, it’s imperative to advice people on what not to eat rather than the other way round.

Let me explain in a little more depth why I say that wheat is no longer wheat. The grain has been heavily altered in the last few decades. The modern wheat grain is actually a genetically modified hybrid of the original healthy, whole grain. Dwarf-type hybrid wheat accounts for 99% of the wheat grown in the world today and these grains have never been tested on humans nor animal.

The wheat we eat today was artificially designed by scientists only to be more resistant to pests, fungi and different growing conditions, such as drought. That certainly did allow for higher profits, but then, it also restructured the natural wheat proteins. More than 5% of the proteins contained in hybrid wheat are unique. These proteins are not found in other grains and were created through genetic alterations, which made wheat dangerous. This restructuring is the main reason why wheat is no longer healthy. Modern wheat has become one of the most dangerous foods that is part of our day-to-day life.

The carbohydrates present in wheat cause more damage than those present in other foods like potatoes and carrots. Wheat starch has a structure called amylopectin-A, which converts this starch to sugar in the blood very effectively. What do you think causes the most damage to blood sugar level: whole grain bread or refined sugar? The correct answer is: whole wheat bread! Two slices will increase your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of pure sugar. At worst, the increase will be the same, but mind you, this in no ways should be construed as refined sugar being good for you. It only goes to show that it’s as bad as refined sugar. Friends, the funny part is, most of our evolved cooking has wheat and sugar working in tandem as partners in crime!

The insulin response, which is activated during the ingestion of wheat, increases the accumulation of fat in the visceral organs. Visceral fat deposits activate the body’s inflammatory response, which increases the risk of acute conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, and colon cancer. All this together eventually leads to premature aging. Mental confusions, lethargy and decreased coordination are the initial warning signs.

The effect of wheat on the insulin response is certain. It’s a vicious cycle. As mentioned before, wheat increases visceral fat. Fat prevents certain tissues and organs, especially the muscles and liver from responding actively to insulin. This resistance activates the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, further increasing the production of insulin. This excess insulin also increases the accumulation of fat in the visceral organs. This cycle continues, leading to various health complications and insulin resistance then leads to diabetes. Also, high levels of insulin cause hunger pangs and you end up eating more wheat. Also, wheat being highly acidic, increases inflammation and reduces life span.

Wheat protein can cause your body to attack its own organs. It is one of the unique properties of wheat protein that is increasingly attracting more research funding in most of the reputed research laboratories. This protein allows indigestible components to flow into your bloodstream, leaving the intestine porous and facilitating the entry of particles into the blood. The blood identifies them as foreign elements and starts attacking even the healthy tissues.

Gluten, a type of protein found in wheat and some other grains, is the main cause of celiac disease, which has a fancy term, gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Gluten too, activates the false antibody response. In people with celiac disease, the immune system forms antibodies against gluten, which attack the lining of the intestine, leading to inflammation. The fine villi, hair like structures in the intestine, are damaged and can no longer absorb nutrients from food. That leads to nutrient deficiencies in spite of adequate consumption.

I know you must be waiting to tell me, enough of the problem, give solutions. Easy! Eliminate wheat and all its products completely from your diet. Smiling? Actually, it’s not that difficult.

Call it substitution rather than elimination. You will not eliminate the cereal from breakfast. You will only replace it with a healthier choice. How about eating cereals made from millets along with nut milk. Or how about ‘Jowar-na-bhakras’? I have had ‘chappati’ prepared from jowar, bajra and besan.   Most of the substitutes are now readily available in many stores across Mumbai. I suggest, preparing the stuff from  scratch at home. It’s just about challenging our culinary instincts. I look forward to receiving your wheat-free cooking ideas!

Dr. Danesh Chinoy
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